Lead poisoning in the globally threatened marbled teal and white-headed duck in Spain

Rafael Mateo, Andy J. Green, Clinton W. Jeske, Vicente Urios, Cati Gerique

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) and white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) are the two European ducks threatened with global extinction. We investigated lead (Pb) poisoning in stifftails (Oxyura spp., n = 83) and marbled teal (n = 80) shot or found dead or moribund in Spanish wetlands via gizzard examination and liver, bone, and blood Pb analysis. Ingested Pb shot was present in 32% of shot stifftails and 70 and 43% of dead or moribund stifftails and marbled teal, respectively. Leadshot ingestion was more frequent in Valencia (eastern Spain), where Pb-shot densities were higher and grit scarcer. Selection of larger grit similar in size to Pb shot may explain the higher rate of Pb-shot ingestion observed in stifftails. Ingested shot was found more frequently in juvenile stifftails than in adults. Lead bone concentrations were higher in ducklings <9 d old than in fully grown teal and were also higher in adult than in juvenile teal. Our results show the need for a ban of Pb shot for waterfowl hunting in Spain and the cleanup of spent shot at major wetlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2860-2868
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Grit
  • Heavy metal contamination
  • Lead shot
  • Waterfowl
  • Wetlands


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